Proverbs 24:31

ESV and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down.
NIV thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins.
NASB And behold, it was completely overgrown with weeds; Its surface was covered with weeds, And its stone wall was broken down.
CSB Thistles had come up everywhere, weeds covered the ground, and the stone wall was ruined.
NLT I saw that it was overgrown with nettles. It was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down.
KJV And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.

What does Proverbs 24:31 mean?

This begins a detailed description of what Solomon saw, in passing (Proverbs 24:30), that made him realize a vineyard was owned by a lazy person. What he notices are not evidence of hardship, or bad luck, or even inexperience. Rather, they are signs of someone who simply fails to do what needs to be done.

Among the flaws seen are a lack of gardening. For a property meant to grow plants, this is especially dangerous. A person not removing weeds is one not tending to the welfare of the good plants. It's possible Solomon saw a field entirely overrun with weeds—one with no good crops at all. Furthermore, the stone wall meant to protect the field from thieves and scavengers was in disarray. This, too, seems to have been due to neglect, and not an enemy attack.

Every gardener or farmer knows plants need constant attention and work. When God placed a curse on the ground when Adam and Eve sinned, He said: "Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field" (Genesis 3:17–18). Perhaps the prodigal son was too lazy to stay home on the farm and work the soil. Apparently, he craved a soft life, but he was foolish to leave home and waste his money on wayward living. Eventually, he recognized he had made an immature mistake (Luke 15:11–32).
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